Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Faithful Woman by Louise Marie Prochaska

Faithful Woman | CB | Charcoal and acrylic on paper & canvas 

                               FAITHFUL WOMAN
                                         (Proverbs 31: 10 - 31 for the Nineties)

                               When one meets a faithful woman,
                               the moment is an awakening. 

                               She has committed her heart
                               to goodness, and the world
                               has an unfailing friend. 

                               She develops her gifts with joy:
                               she empowers those around her. 

                               She will dance in response to song;
                               she will grieve in response to pain. 

                               She knows she is wounded
                               and needs healing;
                               She cannot do all things. 

                               Life, for her, has purpose and pattern,
                               yet she bows her head before its mystery.

                               She is sometimes feared
                               by men who meet her
                               until they discover and embrace
                               the woman within themselves. 

                               Louise Marie Prochaska SND

Christchurch-based Andrew M. Bell writes poetry, short fiction, plays, screenplays and short fiction.  Andrew is this week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub. He has chosen The Votive Angel by Moira Wairama. 

                               Thinking it’s the delivery pizza,
                               he opens the door
                               to The Votive Angel,
                               arrayed in slogan-splattered silks,
                               carrying her sword-sharp pen. . . 

News: TP curator Mary McCallum's new children's book, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish - beautifully illustrated by Annie Hayward - was launched by Jane Arthur (Ghecko Press) at the Wellington Writers Week. A pic of this must-have book followed by Jane's launch speech --- 

Launch speech for Dappled Annie and the Tigrish

"For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jane Arthur from Gecko Press.

For those of you who know me even a little bit, you’ll know I don’t do this. I don’t stand in front of crowds and talk. You’d usually find me at the back of the room in the corner quite happily invisible.

So the fact that I’m standing up here means that this book must be pretty special.

It’s a real honour that Mary asked me to launch Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, because I’m pretty sure she wrote it especially for me, even though she hadn’t met me yet.

This book is truly beautiful, and speaks to my inner child, who is eternally nine years old. I think Mary’s is too, which is why the character of Annie rings so true.

Nine is an important age. It’s the last year of being in single digits. Nine year olds still see things in fresh metaphors, like how when Annie spends time with her dad, “It felt like being wrapped up in a big blanket made of wind and grass and clicking cicadas.”

Nine’s the age when summers are still endless and full of adventure, and imaginations are free from timetables. It’s before you realise that summers merely mark the time between school years, and it’s before they become too short and too boring all at once.

But summer at nine felt exactly as it does for Annie, when time stretches on, and one event becomes “always”, like how her little brother Robbie “always seemed...to be chased by a bull”. Even with the characters of the hedges who are people – or should that be the people who are hedges – and the elusive tigrish (he’s like a tiger, but he’s not a tiger; he’s tigrish) – even with these elements, the book feels utterly true and authentic.

I recognise myself in Annie. Passages like “The quieter Annie was, the more she saw and heard – which suited her just fine.” I mean, that’s nine year old me! (It’s basically me, now.)

Dappled Annie interprets the world in a beautifully descriptive and evocative way. She makes connections between parts of her world with a child’s brilliant intuition. Fantails knit their nests, making the same sounds as Annie’s mother when she knits socks. Another connection I love, between Annie’s school life and her life in nature, is when the character of Mrs Hedge – an actual hedge – says “Ready”... “as if she were writing the word down with a very sharp pencil.”

The physical book is beautiful, too. Luke Kelly has done a perfect design job: we wanted something that looked and felt classic, but not old-fashioned. Annie Hayward’s illustrations are wonderful. There are four colour plates, like books in the olden days, which still excites us. And her line drawings at the start of each chapter turned out even better than we hoped. We used some of them on the endpapers of the hardback edition, and I can’t stop looking at them. (Unity has some of the hardbacks for sale here, as well as the paperback.)

Congratulations, Mary and Annie, for creating this magical world, for it now being forever part of my world, and for allowing it to be part of the world of some new, actual nine year olds. Thank you.*" 


  1. Replies
    1. Kass, hello! Lovely to find you've been here. I love this poem, yes. I hope all is well with you.

  2. Claire, Ms. Prochaska's poem is very moving, and your portrait and the poem take hands so beautifully. Thank you for giving us both!

    Mary McCallum! Mary McCallum! Mary McCallum! What thrilling news to hear about the publication of "Dappled Annie and the Tigrish." It sounds like the most wonderful book ever! And Ghecko Press's Jane Arthur's introduction couldn't be more perfect in describing your new book's many and varied virtues--oh, yes, being nine, how well you've captured it, somewhere inside of us we are still and forever nine years old, and Mary, dear, I am ordering this lovely, old-fashioned beautiful book as soon as I put a period at the end of this comment. Congratulations to you, Mary, and I'm so glad your book found such a marvelous editor, illustrator and press. May 'Dappled Annie' have miraculous wings! xoxo

    1. Hello dear Melissa - I found Ms. Prochaska's poem very moving, too. She reminds us of our tenderness and power, too, doesn't she?

      I forwarded your enthusiasm re. Mary's 'Tigrish' to her -- am looking forward +++ to seeing and holding the book in my hands, too (and thank you for the way you describe my portrait here and the poem 'taking hands so beautifully'). xoxo

  3. Great poem -- quiet, and optimistic, too.
    And yes to all that is Mary -- this week and beyond. :)

    1. Quietly optimistic, yes. A good place to stand. And yes to Mary! xo

  4. Love the poem. If only women were honoured all over the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISme5-9orR0

    1. Hi dbs - thanks for dropping by; I am always lifted by your visits. Thanks (I think) for the link to this film - heartbreaking and important to watch. It shocks and grieves me that these practices continue as they do. . . Hope all is well with you and your family. Take best care out there.